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The Discovery of Kryptopyrrole and its Importance in Diagnosis of Biochemical Imbalances in Schizophrenia and in Criminal Behavior

© Abram Hoffer MD, PhD
 (Excerpted from Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine)

We needed large amounts of material for our chemical studies. Fortunately for us a chronic schizophrenic woman on the ward had huge quantities of this product. For a moment we considered calling the compound the Jensen factor. At first we called it the unknown substance (US), and later the mauve factor because when developed on the paper chromatogram it stained a beautiful mauve. When it was identified we called it, more accurately, kryptopyrrole. We named the disease characterized by large amounts of mauve factor “malvaria,” but Dr. Pfeiffer later gave it the more appropriate term pyrolleuria.

I immediately started two lines of investigation: (1) by Dr. Payza for short time, and then by Dr. D. Irvine who continued the research first at the Research Laboratory at the Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford, and later at University Hospital in Saskatoon. The objective was to determine the structure of the substance and its source. (2) To study its clinical correlates, i.e. could it be used to assist in diagnosis, could it have therapeutic significance, and could it be used to follow patients both to determine if they were improving, and to determine if they were getting worse.

Dr. Irvine showed that it was a pyrrole, later identified as kryptopyrrole. We began to cooperate with Dr. C. C. Pfeiffer at Princeton, New Jersey. Dr. H. Osmond, my colleague in the earlier Saskatchewan research, was then Director of Research for the state. The two laboratories did the basic work. Dr. Pfeiffer and his team discovered how to measure the amount of this substance in the urine using a fairly simple test, and they showed that this substance bound with pyridoxine and zinc and when present in large amounts produced a double deficiency of this vitamin and the mineral. On the clinical side he described the syndrome pyrolleuria, a form of schizophrenia with clearly marked out symptoms and signs which could be diagnosed by the present of kp in the urine.

Several years later we had examined thousands of patients at three hospitals for the mauve factor.(2) It was present mostly in schizophrenic patients but was also present in one-quarter of other non schizophrenic patients including depressions, alcoholics, anxiety states, and in children with learning and behavioral disorders. It was rarely present in normal subjects, and was present in ten percent of a non psychiatric stressed population drawn from the surgical wards of the hospital. To my surprise it was found in most cases of lung cancer.(3) I found the following relationships:

1) To diagnosis - The mauve factor was found in the following categories of patients.

Diagnosis Percent with the Diagnosis mauve factor
Normal subjects 0
Physically ill
Adults 10
Children 10
Mood disorders 20
Alcoholics 20
Schizophrenics
Early,not treated 75
Recovered 0
Not recovered 50

Thus it was clear that although it was most closely related to the schizophrenic population, it could not be considered a test for schizophrenia. Probably there will never be such a test since the clinical diagnosis is subjective and there is wide disagreement among clinicians about the diagnosis. I therefore compared the results of testing for this compound with the results obtained on the HOD test.
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About The Author
In pursuing this research we were the first physicians in America to conduct double blind controlled tests, and we were later the first to recognize and to publish its many defects and flaws. By 1967 we had established some of the roots of orthomolecular medicine. The word itself was coined in 1968 by Linus Pauling. His remarkable influence played a major role.Our discovery that......more
 
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